With 12:59 left in the third period, the Washington Capitals owned a 3-1 lead over the Winnipeg Jets and looked poised to win their 33rd game of the season. Three unanswered goals by the Jets later, the Capitals skated off the ice losers in overtime for the second straight game.
In the locker room afterwards, an exasperated Braden Holtby spoke to the press, trying to make sense of it all.
“They played well obviously. They created their chances,” Holtby said before putting blame squarely on the Capitals. “It shouldn’t matter.
“3-1 lead. A [one] goal lead with 1:17 left on the power play. It doesn’t matter what happened in the game before that,” Holtby said. “We had a couple opportunities to put it in the empty net. Just move it around on the power play, kill the time. We just got a little arrogant and tried to make fancy plays. It burned us. We deserved [to lose].”
Holtby’s comments come two days after the goaltender communicated his frustrations privately inside the locker room after a poor second period against the Red Wings.
The third period started well for the Capitals. John Carlson gave the Capitals a two-goal lead after TJ Oshie forced a turnover in the offensive zone.
— NHL (@NHL) February 14, 2018
But the Caps would turtle after that. According to Peter’s recap, the Caps had only one more shot attempt until the end of regulation – nearly 13 minutes of hockey.
Bryan Little would bring Winnipeg within one with 8:30 left. Then, the most pivotable moment of the game occurred with 1:17 remaining in the third period.
Jay Beagle missed out on an empty-net goal after Dustin Byfuglien two-hand slashed him in the rib cage. The Capitals would finish the game on a power play, but would be unable to close it out.
After playing keepaway in the Jets offensive zone for nearly 15 seconds, Evgeny Kuznetsov put Nicklas Backstrom in a bad position behind the net with a tough pass, causing a turnover.
The Jets would pull their goalie on the way up the ice, making it five-on-five. Kuznetsov would eventually get the puck again from Dmitry Orlov, but would fail to clear, giving the Jets possession.
Eventually Mark Scheifele would pot the game-tying goal with 15 seconds left, sending the game to overtime.
After both teams traded chances in the extra session, Tyler Myers won the game in overtime, turning the Capitals sure win into a single standings point.
— NHL (@NHL) February 14, 2018
While the Capitals had a good effort at times on offense, Holtby has every right to be frustrated. The team hemorrhaged shots right in front of the net and he can’t stop everything.
The Caps finished with 41% possession at even strength tonight. The heat map makes it look like Braden Holtby played in hot magma. The team's defensive play remains troubling. https://t.co/r1tGbwvIGx pic.twitter.com/ki7zJ2gD4k
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) February 14, 2018
Heat map via Natural Stat Trick
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